Sunday, December 20, 2009


So, after years of illness and busyness and frustration making this house worthy of condemnation (the legal and official kind, not just the vocal kind), there is progress.

In fact, there is a house I'd be willing to have people enter without embarrassment.

It is not done, not by a long shot, but it's...livable. Best of all, I no longer want to drive past when I come home from work, unwilling to walk in and face the heaps o' crap, the moldy and mildewy basement (whose smell permeates everything), the cat-mess ruined den carpet in the den, a room I haven't willingly entered in over a year (the elder cat, Merlin, took it upon himself a few years ago to skip the whole going-to-the-basement step of bathrooming, choosing the den carpet instead, so we moved all the litterboxes there in an effort to meet him halfway, only to have him often miss the boxes anyway or refuse them).

What occasioned this massive change in household fortune, you may ask? Meet Della Mae and Lee, my husband's awesome parents.

They took two consecutive weekends this month to drive across the state, stay in our so-called "guest room" (aka storage room with a path to a bed you could almost see), and help us dig out. Well, actually, help Justin, my husband, dig out, as I had umpteen grad school papers to write.

In the last two weeks, the group of them accomplished the following:

  • Light fixture replaced in dining room.
  • Light fixtures either replaced or removed (awaiting electrician--seems we almost died in our sleep from some old, shorting wiring) in the kitchen.
  • Kitchen drawer fixed.
  • Plastic put on living room picture window, the one that leaks like a sieve.
  • New sub-pump motor replaced (again) and new cover put on (thanks to Justin's brilliant idea).
  • Refrigerator moved out and cleaned under and behind (removing a grocery plastic bag that had been sucked up into the motor).
  • Snowblower tinkered, mostly, now.
  • Downstairs toilet removed, awaiting a new one that works.
  • Light fixture in upstairs hallway replaced, with much chagrin.
  • Shower enclosure caulk and tape replaced, painstakingly, by Della Mae.
  • Master bedroom tidied...floor found.
  • Justin's closet in spare bedroom cleaned out of unwearable clothes and miscellaneous crap.
  • New shower curtain liner.
  • Many fresh towels washed, folder, and placed within reach. Likewise, drawers are full of clean underwear and socks. Bathrobes, long lost, found and washed and smelling like heaven.
  • And...the best thing ever...the basement not only emptied, tidied, rearranged, and bleached within an inch of its life, but all the hundreds (you think I'm kidding) of loads of dirty laundry that had stacked up put in bags or baskets and neatly stacked.

What does that mean? That means the house *smells* great. That means I can now go into the basement without dying of an asthma attack (the mold and mildew were not good for me). That means that Justin and I are fighting over who gets to do laundry!

Catboxes back in basement--cleaned daily--and we're in the process of re-training Merlin as best we can (the other three are fine with moving catboxes).

The den is nearly empty and carpet gone, awaiting new laminate flooring to be put in, professionally, this week (whereupon Merlin had better find the catboxes, or there will be much renting of clothes and tearing of hair). (I must mention here that while my own parents, neatfreaks both, are too elderly or too sick--my mother has Alzheimer's and walks uneasily and my father, aged 86, is her sole caretaker in another town--to help physically, it's thanks to these lovely folk that I'm getting the new floor. They're also paying for the dumpster.)

Oh, did I mention this dumpster? A 12-yard dumpster. Overfull. It's gone now...and there's still stuff to throw, but not even close to what was there before.

The house is lighter. I feel lighter. My mood is lighter. The world is fresh again. I have hope for the future.

Things SMELL good!

Oh, and it's like going shopping every day. Clothes that the Basement Monster had abducted months and years (no, not kidding) ago are showing up, and most are just fine after a washing. It's like a shopping spree that I don't have to pay for! Yippee!

We still have to rearrange rooms, paint, and find places for many things. The garage is jam packed--mostly with furniture from the den until after floor replacement, but not completely--and closets are, well, frightening, most of them.

And we won't talk about the outside. I still have lawn furniture and a trellis out, under inches of snow.

But, seriously...we're past the nadir, here.

Last weekend, after my terrific in-laws had left and Justin and I were in the basement, doing laundry (which we'll be doing daily for the next six months, hauling most of it to goodwill, smelling fresh), we were giggling and listening to Christmas music and darn near dancing.

In the basement.

And me without my asthma inhaler...


  1. Can I borrow your in-laws? I totally understand where you are coming from. My bedroom and basement are disasters. Luckily I don't have problems with my furball kitties. Only one of them "poops" on the floor if the litter box is full, luckily she does it in the bathroom. Now if only I could train her to go in the toilet!! LOL
    You have motivated me to get up off this computer chair and get busy. Thank you for the inspiration.


  2. I'm thinking my in-laws could have an excellent sideline business doing this. Their house is immaculate and so organized it's a thing of beauty. Also? My MIL and her friend put on my wedding. Decorations, food, planning. It was gorgeous. And on her property. I'm pretty much convinced she can do anything.

  3. Thank you Karla for all of the kind words. As I told You before,When God put this old ship together he got a little carried away on the cleaning and organizing side but I guess if I ha
    ve to have a side, that is a fairly good one. Dad and I were glad to come and help, and will come again as soon as we can. As you have stated there is more to be done and WE WILL WIN!!!We are proud to have you for our other daughter and love you and Justin very much. Family is for helping and supporting and just plain being there for each other. Just do not put me in a room full of teenagers,because I will not be responsible. See so it is good that god made us all different

  4. See, I knew this blog was a good idea. The competition aspect has me wanting to get up and match ya! :) Once I fight off whatever bug this is threatening to wreck my buzz...

  5. Good for you! Think of all the space you've opened up for new thoughts, ideas and energy to come into your home. Your home can be full of happiness, gratitude and joy that take up lots of space with nary a square inch of real estate used.


Snark-free comments only, please. We get enough of that elsewhere.